Tough Bacon



  • I smoked bacon today after curing it for five days. The taste was great. One problem is it’s tough. I tried following the directions hour by hour, but a couple times I wasn’t watching the temperature and it was off about 15 degrees too high. I tried to compensate for the next time period. I couldn’t find my thermometer, so I didn’t know what the final temperature was. Do you have any comments? that might help next time. As I said the taste is great just tough


  • Walton's Employee

    @bob-s-meatgistics Without knowing what temperature it was cooked to it is hard to tell but my first thought (and the most likely culprit) is that it was cooked well past 132° initially. Since Bacon is going to be pan-fried or cooked in the oven you don’t want to cook it much above 132° initially or it will be tough in subsequent cookings. Even the difference of 145 to 132 could give you very different results.

    Another possible issue is depending on where you purchased the belly from it might still have had the skin on it, a good way to tell is if it still has easily visible teats then the skin is still on and needs to be removed.

    You will definitely want to have a good thermometer at hand in the future, a probe thermometer like the Grilleye or the Grilleye Pro Plus will work well.



  • @bob-s-meatgistics Did you slice the bacon across the grain or with the grain? If you sliced with the grain your bacon will be very tough.



  • I really dont think the temp had anything to do with it. I do about 200lbs of bacon a year and I smoke cook mine till I get an internal temp of 155 and then shut it down and let them hang in the smoker for 30 min after and my finish temp is at about 158-160. Mine always turns out tender.

    I would say it wasn’t the best of pork that was sold.


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  • P

    I do it all the time. Still remember my mom saying it’s not a good idea. I’m sure if you are buying a nice steak and intend it eat it as a grilled T-bone you might notice some flesh cell break down (texture change). If you are going to use it in sausage you will not notice any difference. Made brats last night. Once frozen pork and elk. Refroze the brats. I do it time and time again.

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  • E

    Here is a link to a website that has a handy Excel spreadsheet. It is, as it says a free non-commercial site.
    As for Waltons dropping the ball, I vote they are doing a great job.
    I think for all of us there are general guidelines, but unless you have a temperature and humidity controlled environment, both for the preparation, cooking (if you cook them) smoking, hanging etc, the results are bound to vary from batch to batch.
    Personally, I am searching how to get my home made smoked and dry cured pepperoni to the exact texture and firmness of Margarita pepperoni from the store.
    Through trial and error I have the flavor where I want it, but not the texture or firmness. I know time, temperature and humidity are all crucial, but the best I can do is in the basement and then subject to the environment that is there.
    I figure as long as I am not killing anyone or making anyone sick I am making progress. Thanks Waltons for all of the great information so far.
    Having said that, it would be nice to have your chart in an Excel spreadsheet.

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  • K

    @jonathon

    Thanks Jonathon! One question tho! You eluded to 178 being high for a temp! Don’t you guys recommend setting the temp at 175 during the final stage to completion to internal temp? Three degrees shouldn’t make that much difference should it??

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  • K

    @lamurscrappy

    Sounds reasonable. Thanks for your input. Pulling the meat at 152 will make a big difference I bet! Thanks again.

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  • @Kinger Thanks for the information. Your process, other than going to 178, is on in my mind. The only thing I do differently is an ice bath for 20 minutes. Showering for 10 minutes, if you are running a cycle and a fan in your smoker can work, but I still think an ice bath would bring it down faster and more. Last time I did thick summer sausage it was down to 110 in 20 minutes, I also tried showering it at 2 minutes on 2 minutes off for 20 minutes and it was only down to 136 (ish) but i did not have a fan running on them.

    One more thing you might want to try, if you are stalled towards the end you can finish them up by putting them in a vacuum bag (I have done then hot, right from the smoker, some condensation in the bag but it still gets a good vac) and get some water going at around 165, it should get up to temp in under an hour depending on the thickness.

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